Seeing how far parking structures have come is a good exercise to see how far they can still go. Twenty-five years ago, Rich & Associates gathered copies of many historic parking related patents illustrating some of the early creativity in parking design. Some of these patents date back as far as 1919.
The patent below is for a design created by Eugene Higgins in 1918, a fellow Michigander who hailed from Jackson, Michigan. This unique spiral ramp design was conceived for use as a self-service parking structure or a storage building. At the time, parking buildings were primarily attendant parking operations. Mr. Higgins’ design attempted to eliminate the need for valet attendants allowing motorists to park their own vehicles on one of the multiple levels.
While we have no record of this building type ever being constructed, the design represents one of the earliest plans for helical or spiral express ramps used in many parking structures today. While the helical or spiral ramp designs have significantly evolved over time, many parking designs and systems of today started with innovative engineers like Mr. Higgins.
At Rich & Associates, our planners and designers are always looking into new ways to improve parking like many of the early innovators like Mr. Higgins.